By integrating NovAtel receiver technology directly into their equipment, Stara gets GNSS-enabled feature sets that gives it confidence that competitors do not have an advantage in positioning technology.
A crucial differentiator is NovAtel's business model of not competing with its customers.
“We have a lot of knowledge and value to share here,” says Seitz. “We maintain a philosophy of being an OEM partner only. We do not set up any other type of distribution that could compete with our customers in the field. We are the only agricultural GNSS company that does this. Stara will never have to compete with NovAtel in their market. ”
Sustained and flexible technical support extends from product design and integration through to the manufacturing line and into the marketplace.
Consequently, the partnership between the GNSS OEM and ag equipment manufacturer spans product inception to go-to-market date and on through the market-driven product-refresh cycle
“We have a vision and a plan for the future to ensure that we with our customers' product development process many years in advance,” says Seitz.
In the case of Stara, NovAtel has been able to coordinate with Stara's equipment manufacturing cycle so that the latest technology is deployed over a timeline consistent with Stara's equipment upgrades and rollouts.
Oliveira says that this model “brings very nice, customized, and quick solutions to our market.” Because Stara has its own electronics developments inside the company, Stara and NovAtel can coordinate efforts at the engineering and application level to bring solutions “tailored to the scenario found in each [Stara customer'] market or even each [Stara] customer and application, instead of offering general solutions to the market,” Oliveira adds.
One example is Stara's Topper 4500 controller for precision farming, which features a large color screen with 3D graphics processing and display, digital maps, and real-time monitoring of application rates. The system's controls are designed by Stara engineers and support a wide range of uses, including variable-rate seed planting and fertilizer applications, yield monitoring, and automated precision guidance. The Topper 4500 “is constantly updated with the new GNSS technologies designed by NovAtel,” Oliveira says.
NovAtel supports these efforts with product reliability rates three times the industry average, which is very important to the agriculture market.
The company has developed innovative navigation technology solutions such as the early integration of GLONASS in agriculture-specific GNSS receivers and dual-frequency GLIDE, a firmware solution that is of particular importance for Stara.
Stara is based in NÃ£o-Me-Toque, in the Rio Grande do Sul state of Brazil, a region that experiences high levels of ionospheric activity. These atmospherics can affect the propagation of GNSS satellite signals and, therefore, the positioning accuracy of receivers in Stara's farm equipment product line.
NovAtel's GLIDE firmware-with options for GPS or GPS+GLONASS operation-combines GNSS code and phase data to produce a positioning solution well suited for applications like farm-equipment guidance, where pass-to-pass repeatability, typically over 15-minute intervals, is crucial. Dual-frequency GLIDE smoothes the positioning information received by a Stara product while mitigating the effects of ionospheric disturbances.